Twenty-one Vermont employers join the “Drive the Dream Vermont” initiative
On Sept. 16, Gov. Peter Shumlin joined Drive Electric Vermont in celebrating the launch of “Drive the Dream Vermont,” a campaign to increase the use of electric vehicles (EVs) in the state. As part of the campaign, a diverse group of leading Vermont employers, including businesses, hospitals, and schools met with Governor Shumlin at Vermont Teddy Bear Company in Shelburne, Vt., to announce their commitments to advance EVs in Vermont.
The campaign will spur the growth of EVs by asking participating businesses to commit to installing new EV chargers for employees in the workplace; increasing the number of EVs in corporate fleets; and/or providing workplace incentives to encourage employees to purchase or lease EVs. For example, employers such as Vermont Foodbank, SunCommon, Northwestern Medical Center and many more are committing to add EV chargers for their employees.
“In Vermont, our businesses are so often at the forefront of our efforts to build a clean energy economy that will benefit all Vermonters,” said Governor Shumlin. “The business leaders joining this campaign are making investments that will encourage more Vermonters to buy and lease electric vehicles, and adding more EVs to our roads will reduce our carbon pollution, improve air quality and enhance our economy and energy independence by sending fewer dollars out of state to import fossil fuels.”
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, employees with access to workplace charging are 20 times more likely to have an EV. The 21 business leaders who are joining the Drive the Dream Vermont campaign are collectively pledging to install 50 ports for EV users to use in charging their vehicles, adding two new EVs to corporate fleets, and offering six incentive programs to encourage employees to buy or lease an EV and take full advantage of the fuel and maintenance savings that they offer.
“In our state, the combustion of gasoline and other transportation fuels produces almost 50 percent of our total greenhouse gas emissions,” said Deb Markowitz, secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. “That’s why our state’s energy plan places a heavy emphasis on increasing the use of electric vehicles, which can be powered by renewable energy. Business leaders can help us achieve this goal by creating EV-friendly workplaces that will accelerate sales of clean electric vehicles.”
“We were thrilled to host this event and join Drive Electric Vermont in their ongoing efforts to support EV adoption in Vermont,” said Bill Shouldice, CEO of Vermont Teddy Bear Company. “In this era of fluctuating oil prices and heightened concerns about the environment, we believe our employees and our customers will really appreciate having access to a charging station that makes using an EV practical and convenient.”
Vermont’s transportation sector is currently 95 percent fueled by petroleum. Supporting a strong and rapidly expanding market for plug-in and all electric vehicles is a major focus of the administration, which published a Vermont zero emissions vehicle action plan last year. As the state progresses towards getting more energy from clean, renewably generated electricity, Vermont will yield even greater reductions in greenhouse gas emissions because EVs have virtually zero emissions when powered by renewable resources such as solar power.
“We are excited to be a part of the Drive the Dream Vermont initiative to provide our employees with another great opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint,” said Rob Miller, CEO of VSECU. “We are committed to helping our employees and member-owners make environmentally sustainable decisions and this pledge supports that mission.”
Following the celebration of the campaign, a public ride-and-drive event was held in celebration of National Drive Electric Week. Local EV owners and auto dealers had the latest vehicle models on display and offered test rides and drives to Vermonters interested in learning more about EV technology.
This Vermont celebration was one of more than 150 events taking place across the country this week. For more information visit: www.DriveElectricVT.com/events/drive-the-dream.